Helpful ReplyAustin Oct. 2016

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phlmaestro
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2016/01/29 14:56:35 (permalink)

Austin Oct. 2016

After long negotiations and discussions, my wife and I have agreed to take trips to Denver and the Austin/San Antonio area later this year. The trips won't be until the summer and early fall, but I figured I'd put this out early and see if it builds.
 
I'm not going to have time to go to every great barbecue place in and around Austin. My wife isn't a big barbecue fan and will only humor me so much. I doubt I'm going to want to wait in the line for Franklin Barbecue. My thought is I'll hit Louie Mueller and also stop in Lockhart on the way from Austin to San Antonio. Knowing my relatively small appetite and the time constraints I'll probably be under, I think it's unlikely I'll be going to all three of the famous places in Lockhart. My question at this point is, if you only had time to go to two of the places in Lockhart (Black's, Kreuz, and Smitty's), which would you eliminate? My initial inclination is to go to Black's and Smitty's because of their more old-fashioned atmosphere), but if there seems to be a consensus that Kreuz is tops and I should skip one of the other two places instead, I will go along with that.
 
One positive thing I noticed when doing the online research the other night was that Austin has some nice-looking frozen custard places. I may look into that while I'm there. 
 
I didn't see a whole lot of interest when I tried to research San Antonio food the other night. I'm not a huge fan of Mexican food.  Are there any great burger or barbecue joints that I shouldn't miss there?
 
And as far as Denver goes, I'm we're timing the trip to go when the Phillies are there to play the Rockies. I looked at old threads on here and didn't see a ton of interest as far as food. Does anyone know of any newer Denver places that may have popped up in the past five or six years since those old threads? I'm always interested in burgers. A great pizza place would be nice too. 
 
Oh ... and any great fried chicken recommendations would be appreciated. I noticed that Gus' has a location in Austin. With their planned Philly outlet delayed, I may check them out while I'm in Texas.
 
Thanks in advance for all of your advice.
post edited by phlmaestro - 2016/09/05 13:26:11
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phlmaestro
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Re: Austin/San Antonio and Denver 2016/01/29 15:25:22 (permalink)
One other thing: I've wanted to go to Hoover's and Threadgill's in Austin for a long time, but will probably only be able to get to one. It looked like Hoover's would probably be the way to go, but I'd appreciate any comments on that subject as well.
In fact, any recommendations for meat-and-three or down-home cafeteria type places in Austin or San Antonio would be very welcome.
 
Thanks again.
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Foodbme
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Re: Austin/San Antonio and Denver 2016/01/29 18:37:30 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Twinwillow 2016/09/07 10:48:41
"Wife isn't a big barbecue fan" 
"Relatively small appetite and the time constraints." 
"I'm not a huge fan of Mexican food"
"Didn't see a ton of interest as far as food." (In Denver)
 
Why bother going?
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phlmaestro
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Re: Austin/San Antonio and Denver 2016/01/29 21:19:07 (permalink)
Foodbme
"Wife isn't a big barbecue fan" 
"Relatively small appetite and the time constraints." 
"I'm not a huge fan of Mexican food"
"Didn't see a ton of interest as far as food." (In Denver)
 
Why bother going?



I've dealt with similar restraints on most of my trips and have still managed to find good things to eat, as I think my past reports indicate. I've also been drooling over photos of brisket in that part of the country for nearly 20 years and think getting to a couple places in Lockhart and Louie Mueller will be make the trip worthwhile even if I don't find anything else that I like, although that seems highly unlikely.
My wife is interested in San Antonio. I'd have picked Dallas or stayed more days in the Austin area, but marriage is about compromise.
Food aside, Denver seems like an interesting city and I'm excited about seeing the Phillies play in another city. Again, it's a city my wife wants to visit. I'm not going to ignore her wishes, but why shouldn't I try to maximize my food-related enjoyment where I'm going to be? And no, I'm not one of those guys who can eat several meals in a short period of time.
 
By the way, I'm not the one who flagged your post, although I appreciate the sentiments of the person who did.
 
post edited by phlmaestro - 2016/01/29 21:37:45
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Re: Austin/San Antonio and Denver 2016/01/30 09:59:36 (permalink)
I can't help you with Denver. It's been nearly 7 years since my last visit. Although unless things have changed, my first "off the plane" meal in Denver would still be Buckhorn Exchange. That's about as "Iconic Denver" as you're going to get.
 
My last visit to San Antonio and Austin was back in 2012, not too long ago. In Austin I've never been to Threadgills and honestly have no desire to visit, I'll always go to Hoover's. I really enjoyed J Mueller in Austin, when I was there he had a trailer, if he's still there I'd check it out
 
In Lockhart, Smitty's.....Period.....
 
I can't really help you out with San Antonio since you're not into Tex Mex, although for a "bean burger" I'd check out Chris Madrid's
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phlmaestro
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Re: Austin/San Antonio and Denver 2016/01/30 13:11:39 (permalink)
 Thanks. I forgot about Buckhorn Exchange when I wrote the initial post, but yes, it's at the top of my list for Denver at this point.
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NebGuy
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Re: Austin/San Antonio and Denver 2016/01/30 14:09:17 (permalink)
Jim's Burger Haven and Cherry Cricket in Denver both top notch burger joints.
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phlmaestro
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Re: Austin/San Antonio and Denver 2016/01/30 14:39:15 (permalink)
NebGuy
Jim's Burger Haven and Cherry Cricket in Denver both top notch burger joints.


Thanks. It's good to have more than just Buckhorn Exchange on the Denver list!  Jim's looks especially promising.
post edited by phlmaestro - 2016/01/30 14:42:25
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Michael Hoffman
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Re: Austin/San Antonio and Denver 2016/01/30 18:09:29 (permalink)
How about Biker Jim's in Denver.
 
http://www.bikerjimsdogs.com/
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Re: Austin/San Antonio and Denver 2016/01/30 18:22:48 (permalink)
Personally speaking, I'm not a big fan of Kreuz's BBQ in Lockhart. I love Smitty's and that's where we always go. But, I've always wanted to try Black's.
 
And yes, please do not miss Louie Mueller BBQ and their incomparable beef ribs.
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phlmaestro
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Re: Austin/San Antonio and Denver 2016/01/31 00:25:39 (permalink)
That's a really interesting menu at Biker Jim's, Michael. It's a possibility. What on their interests you most?  Trying some game meat while I'm in Denver is probably something I'll want to do.
 
Twinwillow .... I was thinking about more about pork ribs when I'm in that area, but you're making me re-think that. If I have the appetite and can fit one of each along with brisket, I'll do that. I'll probably skip sausage in the interest of trying as many of the other meats that I care more for. I may also not be able to resist trying a piece of smoked prime rib at one of the Lockhart places.
post edited by phlmaestro - 2016/01/31 00:33:46
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Re: Austin/San Antonio and Denver 2016/02/01 14:52:24 (permalink)
Two places that would have been at the top of my Denver suggestion list have already been mentioned, Biker Jim's and Cherry Cricket.  Both outstanding!  In fact, Cherry Cricket was at the tops of my burger list a few years ago.
 
If you like ice cream, I thought Littleman Ice Cream was excellent.  For breakfast, one of the Denver locations of Snooze is in the old train station and well worth the visit.  And if you make it to Boulder, we loved our breakfast at Village Coffee Shop.
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Michael Hoffman
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Re: Austin/San Antonio and Denver 2016/02/01 15:07:02 (permalink)
phimaestro,
 
The elk, the duck, the pheasant and the reindeer.
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phlmaestro
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Re: Austin/San Antonio and Denver 2016/02/01 15:08:24 (permalink)
Thanks, Buffetbuster. "Like" probably isn't a strong enough word to describe my feelings about ice cream!
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buffetbuster
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Re: Austin/San Antonio and Denver 2016/02/01 15:36:11 (permalink)
phlmaestro-
Well then, we liked the ice cream at Sweet Action also, but preferred Littleman.  You may want to check out both.
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Re: Austin/San Antonio and Denver 2016/02/01 16:26:48 (permalink)
I'm glad some folks can vouch for Biker Jim's as it's been almost 7 years since my last visit and yes it was as good as everyone else says it was.
While we're at it, take it for what its worth but I had a fantastic bison burger at the Buffalo Rose Saloon in Golden back in 2009. 
I would suggest you go in the afternoon, when it's quiet, I understand it can get very busy in the evening when they have live music, hence the service or quality may suffer.
 
If you do go to Buckhorn Exchange, don't fall into the trap of ordering the game combo- instead, go directly for the Buffalo Prime Rib- it was absolutely superb
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phlmaestro
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Re: Austin/San Antonio and Denver 2016/02/01 17:04:58 (permalink)
wanderingjew
 
If you do go to Buckhorn Exchange, don't fall into the trap of ordering the game combo- instead, go directly for the Buffalo Prime Rib- it was absolutely superb



 
That sounds like good advice. I'll say I probably wouldn't need it only because the thought of Buffalo Prime Rib is so appealing to me that I'm pretty sure I'd order with or without being told how good it is.  I had a buffalo ribeye once and loved it.
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The Travelin Man
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Re: Austin/San Antonio and Denver 2016/02/02 15:27:45 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby buffetbuster 2016/02/02 15:58:32
I'll definitely vouch for Biker Jim's in Denver. If you want the original experience, go down to the 16th Street Mall (at Arapaho) and you'll find his cart there. Jim, himself, maybe not so much, as I suspect that he spends more time at the brick-and-mortar location. In addition to bufferbuster's breakfast suggestion, I would steer you towards the Denver Biscuit Company, and specifically towards The Franklin. 
 

 
Also in Denver, you might consider Tom's Home Cooking, a soul food/meat-and-three restaurant. The food - and the people who run the place - are A+. It is almost guaranteed that you will wait in a line, but that is half the experience.
 
The local weekly paper in Denver, which is very popular among the locals is the Westword. They have a lot of restaurant information (and they are huge Biker Jim's fans) and make a good local resource. 
 
In addition to the other suggestions that were made for Austin, I highly recommend Freedmen's Bar. Their menu specializes in barbecue, but there are other things, as well. I found it on one of Daniel Vaughn's Texas Monthly lists - this one about the best banana puddings
 

 
The only additional recommendation for San Antonio that I would offer is Two Bros Barbecue Market. You may be all barbecued-out by the time you reach San Antonio, but this is a city that never really had decent 'que. Two Bros changes that. They are located on the north side of town - kind of near the airport, so if that is convenient for you, it is well off the San Antonio tourist trail. 
 
One last take-away from all of this....Time should dictate whether or not you go to Lockhart. I know there are other folks singing the praises of the "Holy Trinity" of Kreutz, Smitty's, and Black's - and, don't get me wrong, they all have their supporters...and the detractors are, for the most part, nitpicking...BUT, here's the thing: Lockhart is a 45 minute drive outside Austin. If you're visiting Austin, you may not want to add an hour-and-a-half of driving to go and try some barbecue. People did it for years because there really wasn't any truly excellent barbecue in Austin proper. That is no longer the case. You don't NEED to drive to Lockhart any more to get the famed "Central Texas" barbecue, served in the same style. Austin has a number of places - most, if not all, have been mentioned above. It also doesn't mean standing in line at Franklin's, if you don't want to. LA Barbecue (from the Meuller family), Mickelthwait Craft Mears, JMeuller's, and Freedmen's are all just as good barbecue as you would find down in Lockhart, without making the drive. 
 
If I think of anything else, I will let you know. 
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phlmaestro
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Re: Austin/San Antonio and Denver 2016/02/02 15:49:21 (permalink)
I really appreciate all that, Travelin' Man.  
 
Banana Pudding is one of my very favorite dishes, so Freedman's is a good possibility (coincidentally, my wife is making banana pudding to take to the Super Bowl party we're going to Sunday).
 
I found Westword online the other night and agree with you that it's a valuable resource. 
 
On Lockhart, I don't think the stop-off there will be a problem because we'll be driving back and forth between Austin and San Antonio, and it's on the way.  
 
Are you or anyone else on here familiar with Mr. and Mrs. G's in San Antonio? It's a soul food/meat-and-three type place that seems to get a lot of raves online. 
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Ralph Melton
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Re: Austin/San Antonio and Denver 2016/02/02 16:11:29 (permalink)
This is what I know of my own knowledge about Austin: http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/Bluebonnets-Bats-and-Beaucoup-Barbecue-m736992.aspx
 
I think the biggest barbecue winners for us were Micklethwait Craft Meats and Louis Mueller Barbecue.
 
You asked "My question at this point is, if you only had time to go to two of the places in Lockhart (Black's, Kreuz, and Smitty's), which would you eliminate?" My own answer would be Black's. I don't have a lot of experience; I've eaten at Smitty's twice and the other two once each. But I remember the barbecue from Kreuz's and Smitty's much more than I remember that from Black's.
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phlmaestro
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Re: Austin/San Antonio and Denver 2016/02/02 16:18:57 (permalink)
I can see already that thread is going to come in handy for me, Ralph. Thanks for the link.
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Re: Austin/San Antonio and Denver 2016/02/02 16:25:44 (permalink)
In San Antonio if you are looking for an alternative to Tex-Mex, try a German restaurant.  There is a surprisingly strong German restaurant presence, largely, I believe, because of the immigration in the late 19th century.
 
Having said that, I have no personal rec's.  The only time I was in San Antonio (a while ago) I did not eat at any German restaurants.  The only Tex-Mex place that I recall is Mi Tierra.  It has been a while but I remember liking the restaurant and also that they had a nice bakery. 
 
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Re: Austin/San Antonio and Denver 2016/05/14 18:38:37 (permalink)
The Travelin Man
Also in Denver, you might consider Tom's Home Cooking, a soul food/meat-and-three restaurant. The food - and the people who run the place - are A+. It is almost guaranteed that you will wait in a line, but that is half the experience.



Unfortunately, I just saw online that Tom's has closed. And it turns out we'll be staying within reasonable walking distance of where it was.
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ScreamingChicken
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Re: Austin/San Antonio and Denver 2016/05/14 18:48:53 (permalink)
phlmaestro
My wife isn't a big barbecue fan and will only humor me so much.

 
http://cordellcordell.com/
 
Last year Aaron Franklin had a PBS TV series and in it he visited a number of the more well-known Austin-vicinity barbecue joints.  If you can track down the episodes online they might be helpful.
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phlmaestro
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Re: Austin/San Antonio and Denver 2016/05/14 22:50:45 (permalink)
Thanks, Screaming Chicken.  I'll keep that web address in case she ever stops letting me have my way on where we eat when we travel.
 
I've got Aaron Franklin's barbecue book as I'm a backyard meat-smoker.
 
 
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rumaki
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Re: Austin/San Antonio and Denver 2016/05/16 05:11:03 (permalink)
I highly recommend the Castle Cafe in Castle Rock, CO.  It's in the greater Denver suburbs and is a bit of a hike, but they serve superb pan-fried chicken.   http://www.castlecafe.com/
Another fried chicken option, closer in, is White Fence Farm.  http://wff-co.net/co/index-home.php
Both places offer family-style options with a variety of sides.  WFF is famous for its unlimited corn fritters and various relishes/salads in addition to potatoes and vegetables, and it's in a nice rural setting (even though it is in town).
Castle Cafe has homemade Parker House rolls.  They fry your chicken to order.
 
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phlmaestro
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Re: Austin/San Antonio and Denver 2016/05/16 10:28:09 (permalink)
rumaki
I highly recommend the Castle Cafe in Castle Rock, CO.  It's in the greater Denver suburbs and is a bit of a hike, but they serve superb pan-fried chicken.   http://www.castlecafe.com/
Another fried chicken option, closer in, is White Fence Farm.  http://wff-co.net/co/index-home.php
Both places offer family-style options with a variety of sides.  WFF is famous for its unlimited corn fritters and various relishes/salads in addition to potatoes and vegetables, and it's in a nice rural setting (even though it is in town).
Castle Cafe has homemade Parker House rolls.  They fry your chicken to order.

 
Thank you kindly for those recommendations. Both sound delightful.  
 
Since I started this thread, the trip has gotten further along in the planning stages. It turns out we'll be staying in or near Downtown Denver (LoHi is the name of the neighborhood) and will probably only get a car for one or two days during the trip. We're leaning in the direction of heading towards Colorado Springs when we have the car, but that's not a sure thing yet.
 
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Re: Austin/San Antonio and Denver 2016/05/16 11:12:36 (permalink)
I know you were looking for restaurants in Denver proper however since others are recommending restaurants that are not and are recommending restaurants they haven't been to in a while, I guess I'll do the same
Check out the Buffalo Rose in Golden, an old bar/restaurant with western motif- They have a fantastic buffalo burger served with your choice of home made potato chips, fresh cut fries or handbreaded onion rings. I had the potato chips which were good but I recall someone had ordered the onion rings and they "looked" even better.
Also the green chili stew was solid
I went during lunch, it wasn't too busy and had great service- If you go DO NOT GO IN THE EVENING- big crowds and I understand the service will be totally awful
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Re: Austin/San Antonio and Denver 2016/05/16 13:31:15 (permalink)
buffetbuster
Two places that would have been at the top of my Denver suggestion list have already been mentioned, Biker Jim's and Cherry Cricket.  Both outstanding!  In fact, Cherry Cricket was at the tops of my burger list a few years ago.
 
If you like ice cream, I thought Littleman Ice Cream was excellent.  For breakfast, one of the Denver locations of Snooze is in the old train station and well worth the visit.  And if you make it to Boulder, we loved our breakfast at Village Coffee Shop.


Second the nod to Cherry Cricket, and, of course, Biker Jim's. Jim recently opened a new place called Pop's, but I haven't yet been there and I tend not to refer people to places I haven't personally tried. I would also add a recommnedation for Denver Biscuit Company, in particular, The FRanklin, as another breakfast option. 
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phlmaestro
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Re: Austin/San Antonio and Denver 2016/05/16 16:06:07 (permalink)
Thanks again for the recommendations. I've got a list of places on my home computer and it keeps growing.
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